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White Sox fans tend to value outward effort more than the norm, which is why the “grinder” campaigns have been so successful. So I can’t say I was entirely surprised when I looked at responses on the Facebook page posts (for the Sox and Chicago Tribune pages), mostly against the idea of Manny Ramirez coming to the South Side.
Ramirez isn’t a fan favorite, that much is clear, but if Kenny Williams is being forthright, he’s ready to (finally) ignore intangibles:
“The perfect fit is less important than production, I think, in the last month of the season, the last 30 games, and that’s not to say I don’t factor it in,” Williams said. “I always factor it in and how it fits in the makeup of who we are and what we are.
“You can only get on someone’s nerves so much in 30 days. So you come in, you produce, we win, everybody’s happy. You don’t, the guy you didn’t like, he leaves anyway. Just being honest.”
Thank God. Claiming Ramirez, if he makes it to the Sox through the waivers, whenever he’s placed on them, is the only option. There’s no argument against.
I don’t know how much Ramirez has left, but even with his injury issues, he’s still hitting . .312/.404/.508. That’s better than a healthy Mandruw Kojones, especially since Ramirez has a history of reverse splits (which makes him almost like a lefty bat).
He doesn’t solve the biggest current problem area — the bullpen, which was scary once again in victory on Tuesday — but the Sox can’t be choosers. There aren’t arms to be had, but there’s (potentially) a big bat to be taken off a team’s hands. If it’s a significant upgrade, the Sox have to take it, regardless of where he plays.
They sealed their fate when they traded Daniel Hudson for Edwin Jackson. You don’t forsake six years of cheap pitching for 1 1/2 years of expensive pitching, only to sit back, cross your fingers and wish. They have to go for it, regardless of personality, regardless of “fit,” regardless of cost.
And really, what vibes should the Sox preserve? The last time the Sox had unrest in the clubhouse, they made the playoffs. If you believe Joe Cowley, everything ain’t swell at The Cell, and fans aren’t exactly responding to this bunch (they drew 26,263). I’m not one to blame the fans for core issues — especially when the Sox’s worst seats are the third-most expensive worst seats in the league — but they do vote with their feet, and this team has no mandate.
Cash isn’t an issue, either. They went stingy on the draft once again, and the cost of tickets, parking and a churro aren’t going to go down anytime soon, so what good is saving money? If Jerry Reinsdorf can afford a month of Ramirez, that ends that discussion.
If Ramirez’s health checks out — as much as it can, anyway — I can’t find one reason to avoid adding him. It looks like Williams sees it the same way, and he better. I thought another decision was equally obvious earlier in the year, and I was mistaken. And as it turns out, so were they.
Arm in arm, J.J. Putz and Matt Thornton are heading to the DL as one.
Erick Threets is the obvious choice to replace Thornton, but the right-handed counterpart is a little unclear. I’m going to guess Carlos Torres is your man, with Tony Pena sliding higher on the depth chart.